Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cheddar Cheese Pumpernickel Rolls

Today was another day spent in the kitchen getting some of the weekly cooking chores done. There was a pot of turkey stock to make, bread to bake and food for tomorrow, in addition to the meals of the day. I love days like this!

In making bread for the week, I decided to step away from the usual task of making a loaf of bread and opted instead to make rolls. One recipe I've made in the past and really enjoyed was for pumpernickel dough. I've always just made it into a loaf. Today, however, I thought I would make rolls with cheddar cheese in the middle. I've never actually tried something like this and it sounded like a good idea.

The first step is the dough. A good pumpernickel should be a nice dark brown and have a grainier texture than rye. Pumpernickel flour is nothing more than coarse ground rye flour anyway, like rye meal. The color comes from throwing literally everything black you can find in the kitchen into it. Balsamic vinegar, espresso, cocoa,  and molasses, all working together to create a unique flavor unlike any other bread.

To start the dough, begin by brewing:
2 c very strong coffee
I generally use a french press for this. Pour the coffee into a medium bowl and allow it to cool to about 115°. Stir in:
1-1/2 T dry yeast
1 t sugar
Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine:
4 T soft butter
1/4 c cocoa powder
3 T molasses
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T gluten powder
2 t kosher salt
2 t caraway seeds
Mix well and then stir in the coffee/yeast mixture with:
1 c rye flour
1/2 c coarse ground pumpernickel flour
1/3 c corn flour
Combine well and begin adding:
3 to 3-1/2 c unbleached white flour
Knead until the dough is just a little bit tacky but not sticky. Place it in a greased container and allow to rise in a warm place for about 40-45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
While dough is rising, cut:
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese 
into 1/2" cubes and set aside.
Once the dough has finished rising, roll it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into an oblong shape. Take a sharp knife and cut the dough into two equal pieces. Then cut each half into four pieces and each of those into three. This will give you 24 rolls. You may, of course, make them bigger if you so choose. Take each piece of dough and flatten it a bit. Place a cube of cheddar in the middle of the flattened piece and wrap the dough around it. Arrange the rolls on two (or more) parchment lined cookie sheets, cover and allow to rise for another 40 minutes or so. Then the rolls are nearly finished rising, heat the oven to 375° and place the rack on the middle setting. In a small bowl, combine: 
1 egg yolk
1 T cold water
Wisk the yolk and water together until will mixed. Brush on to rolls just before placing the rolls in the oven. Bake the rolls for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Delish! These rolls are wonderful for those wintertime soups and are perfect comfort food. Bon appetit!

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